DNA repair plays an important role in a type of cancer called malignant pleural mesothelioma. Scientists have found that mesothelioma patients who live for a very long time do not have active DNA repair function.
Exploring Longevity in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers many of the body’s internal organs. Pleural mesothelioma grows in the lining of the lungs. There are about 2,000 cases of pleural mesothelioma each year in the United States.
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. This is a toxic material that has been used in construction, manufacturing, and many other applications.
This type of cancer is hard to treat, and doctors often need to use multiple therapies. The conventional treatments are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, but it is not always clear which treatments will work best in individual patients.
The Role of DNA Repair in Mesothelioma
Doctors need better ways to predict how it will progress in specific patients. In this study, scientists looked at over 700 genes involved in different cell processes in 54 patients with this type of cancer. They used a special technology called Nanostring.
They found that, on average, these patients lived for about 17 months after being diagnosed. They divided the patients into groups: some lived longer, and some lived shorter. They also looked at a smaller group of patients who lived very long or very short times.
They found that in the group of patients who lived longer, the genes that help fix DNA were not as active. This finding was confirmed by looking at specific proteins in the tumor cells.
If these results can be confirmed in future studies, it could mean that there might be a simple and inexpensive test to help doctors better treat these patients. This could make a big difference in how we treat this type of cancer.
Ganzinelli M, Guffanti F, Ianza A, et al. Epithelioid Mesothelioma Patients with Very Long Survival Display Defects in DNA Repair. Cancers (Basel). 2023;15(17):4309. Published 2023 Aug 29. doi:10.3390/cancers15174309. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10486625/